The Australian Longitudinal Study of Health and Relationships

This landmark Australian study is interviewing thousands of Australian men and women, from the ages of 16 to 64, who were randomly selected in 2004-2005.
"A total of 8,656 people were interviewed, of whom 95% (8243) agreed to be contacted again 12 months later." They will be interviewed each year. ALSHR was funded by the NHMRC for the period 2003-2007.

It is being conducted by researchers at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) - from Latrobe and Deakin Universities - and the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales.

Click here for the Study's website. Further links are on the right hand side of the page once you click into the study's homepage.

The researchers say "Ensuring the sexual and reproductive health of the population is essential for the wellbeing of a nation. At least three aspects of sexual and reproductive health are among the key policy issues for present Australian governments: maintaining and increasing the birth rate; reducing the abortion rate; and preventing and controlling Chlamydia infections."

In the Background section of the Study Protocol document, they say "The overall aim of the Australian Longitudinal Study of Health and Relationships is to document the natural history of the sexual and reproductive health of the Australian adult population."
For details of the Study see the Protocol Document

RESULTS:

A Summary of the Wave 1 Results was published in 2005.
Click here for the results.

The Summary includes data on:
* Age and sex of respondents
* Sexual identity, attraction and experience of respondents.
* Surgeries
* Pregnancies and outcomes.
* 'Attitudes' - interesting range of questions!

The study found that 98% identify as heterosexual and 2% identified as homosexual or bisexual. They also found that up to 8% said they were attracted to both sexes, though it is not stated whether that was an ongoing or a 'one-off' attraction or experience.

Abortion
The Wave 1 results showed that 70% of all births resulted in a live birth, roughly 15% in a miscarriage and less than 10% in an abortion.

Recent results:

In March 2008, Dr Julia Shelley released data from the survey when speaking at a conference.

She said that there had been a decline in the abortion rate, especially among young women born between 1976 and 1990. She said the rate of abortion was similar to that of their grandmothers, of women aged 64. She noted they had been surprised by the decline, but attributed it to condom use and the desire to have babies.

Perhaps the baby bonus also contributed!

Media report:
Abortion rates in decline
Daily Telegraph, 19/3/2008.

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